Monday Classroom: Are you bored with your manuscript?

5 Mar

You stare at your computer screen, willing yourself to open the manuscript you’ve been working on, or start that new story/novel/whatever. Instead, you surf the net, check your email, tweet, Pin some inneresting stuff onto Pinterest, read Facebook updates and then update how you need to get back to writing—hahaha—but—hahaha—you’re just so distracted—hahaha—and well it’s soooo haaarrrd being a writer–hahaha, eat last night’s leftovers and the Hubig’s pie that’s still half-frozen (don’t judge me, ungh!), call out in a strong and determined holler, “What? What? Did you call me? Here I am! I thought sure I heard you say to come here. No? Well I heard something. Huhn. Isn’t that funny? Well, since I’m already here, I guess I’ll just scrub out the sink, la la la tee dah scrub scrub la la scrub la la la. I just looooove a clean sink; don’t you?”

Sometimes you may feel as if you want to ditch the entire manuscript, stomp off, and never open up that word document again. You may think, “I am B O R E D, b-o-r-e-d, bored.”

Welp, my good friends, let’s first consider that “boredom” may not be the real problem. ‘Kay? Imagine my benevolent head hovering over your shoulder, smiling encouragement and . . . okay, that’s kind of disturbing an image, so, um . . . anyway . . .

If you lose motivation to keep writing on a project (or finishing any project—like renewing your driver’s license because you keep failing the online test because you can’t remember all that crap and what’s a point anyway? Ungh.), maybe you do need a break—so yeah, go clean out the sink, watch brain-emptying television, read a book (which you should be doing anyway *giving you The Eye*), do some research, take a long walk somewhere quiet and restive, take a shower (unfortunately, no one’s yet, that I know of, invented waterproof pen and paper to take notes of the BRILLIANT ideas that come while you are washing your hair . . . lawd), et cetera. You can also try working on something else for a while, then go back to your original project. I find, as well, that starting at the beginning of my novel/novella/short story/essay and reading it from Word One spurs off more ideas, thoughts, and brings renewed energy to the project—it reminds me of why I wanted to write it in the first place, what brought me to these characters, setting, and situation. I fall in love all over again—oh siigghhhhh *little cute hearts abound*

If you are still unmotivated, maybe it’s time to consider why? If you are truly bored by your work and are not excited about working on it despite all my kick-arse ideas (hey! Who said that? They are, too!), will your readers feel that boredom as well? Hmmm? Think about it—if we are bored and uninspired by our work, how much more so will our readers feel this way? Believe me, it shows in our work. Our attitudes about character, place, scene, setting, tone, et cetera, will manifest into our Product. We should be the first champions, the first lovers of, the first excited readers of our work. Does this mean we’re always WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP *happy dance la la la laaaa!* about our work—naw, but you and I know when all the air’s been let loose from the balloon and what’s left is a sad limp wrinkled rubbery thang.

Perhaps you are stuck on a scene or chapter—then move on to the next one. Perhaps a character isn’t ringing true—ask yourself why; are you forcing your will onto the character instead of letting them be who they are? Do you have some “agenda” for that character that is your agenda and not what the character would ever care about? Be careful when you try to “get a message across” to your readers, for it can set you up for wooden prose and wooden characters.

Bluebird of happiness won't crap on your shoulder!

Perhaps you are simply discombobulated (oh how I love that word! Let’s say it together: dis-com-bob-u-lated—teehehee) or tired—go take a nap, sleep a good night’s sleep (don’t underestimate the importance of sleep—sometimes things Come To Me after a good night’s rest; a solution, where I go HEY! Whoop! Bingo!). Maybe you are stressed about that “$*%&$*% (that’s a curse word—oh, you knew that, well ex-scuuuuuse me) editor/taskmaster on your shoulder, so lower the stakes a little—don’t let yourself become so worried about where the book is going after you complete it (read that again—don’t let yourself become so worried about where the book is going after you complete it) and instead again find the joy of writing and creating—be In The Moment *cue new age music here.*

Maybe you need to hit the good ole delete key and be rid of some dead-weighted text. Oh, the delete key can be our friend—no really! I’ve grown to rather like that ole delete key. Look at it—give it a pet, stroke the key and say, “the pweshush, oh the pweshush.” I’ve deleted entire chapters, thousands of words, and after that, felt a renewed energy for the work. Keeping what doesn’t work, what bores us or stalls us will do us no good. There are always more words—trust yourself and the process. You can always save the deleted words in case you decide you want them after all—but guess what? Most times you won’t miss them. Really! You doubt me? *trap door opens, you fall into dungeon*

metaphor for bright shiny thoughts

It’s okay to be stuck with your work at times. It’s okay to feel frustrated. It’s okay to put it away and work on something else for a bit. It’s okay to hate being a writer sometimes. It’s okay to stomp your feet and raise a fist to the sky and ask, “WHY DO I DO THIS? WHY WHY WHY OH WHYYYYYYYYYY DO I TORTURE MYSELF IN THIS WAY? I SUCK; MY WORK SUCKS; BEING A WRITER SUCKS! SANCTUARY SANCTUARY!” Yes, it’s perfectly normal and fine to feel that way, as long as you don’t let it overtake you, consume you, have you arrested for climbing atop some building and rending your garments. As long as you scream and stomp and angst and feel depressed and feel defeated and feel horrid and yucky and icky and poodly doo doo pee-pee-poo-poo doody head, and Then You Go Back To The Work.

Now, go stomp up a hissy fit and then take a deep breath and fall in love with your characters and their stories all over again.

Oh! and here is the book-cover for my new novel Family Graces (which, by the way, gave me ten kinds of unholy hell, but I finally found what I was looking for–don’t give up on what you know is viable work). This is the last book in the Graces (Virginia Kate) Saga Trilogy. It will be released in spring. And you know, I’m grieving in a way–I know that sounds crazy, but I’m going to miss writing about Virginia Kate and all the others. She, and they, have been with me for years. Tender Graces was my very first ever novel to write! *sad face* So, at last, the Graces Trilogy complete:

Now Go Do The Day! And tell me, how do you inspire yourself to go back to work?


16 Responses to “Monday Classroom: Are you bored with your manuscript?”

  1. terri tiffany March 5, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    thank you for your post:) Love how you let it all out. Anyways, I am BORED to death with both books I’ve started and haven’t really written in months. I think inside of me there is a story wanting to be written but it has not appeared and I keep waiting on it. I start and then think this is so predictable. Hate it hate it. I am wondering if I will ever write something worth reading again. Funny how you work hard to learn how to write and then I have NO ideas at all that I can put down. I envy those who always have a story to tell.

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      Maybe it’s time to just sit down and put your fingers on the keys and start writing something in a way you never have written before – don’t over-think it — just give yourself some “free writing” time even if you feel “silly” about it at first, or unorganized, or whatever . . . see what comes out of your subcon mind! No telling what may be lurking there!

  2. angie March 5, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Oh, your discombobulated blue head surely is sitting on my shoulder! I think my problem with the WIP is emotional (worked on it last during a bad time in my life) and now having trouble getting back into it. But I WILL. In the meantime, I’ve got four other viable projects simmering on all burners, am doing art, submitting poetry/art here and there, and then there’s the new love of photography. Whew! Love your Monday classroom. Is it time for recess or lunch yet? LOL. xo

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Shoot, I know how busy you are and how you have your talented fingers in so many yummy pies.

      But dang I”m itching to read your ms’s – WT and MR!

  3. jwthibodeau March 5, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    This post is *so* timely for me–thank you! I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so unwilling to compete the scene I’ve been working on for too long now. I wouldn’t say I’ve been bored with it, but I found something…lacking. I discovered what that was just last night: I’ve been telling the story from the wrong PoV! Twelve pages gone, and a fresh start ahead of me, and I am EXCITED again!

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

      I had some a similar thing happen with this latest book – I turned POV on its head even though it won’t follow exactly the following two books “organization” – but it worked! So glad you are excited again – no feeling like it!

  4. Vaughn Roycroft March 5, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Cool cover. Please know you won’t be the only one to grieve the end of VK saga.

    I’m cleaning the sink because I know my flippity golly-durned ms still needs tweaks. I’m working on my submissions stuff, and it led to some flappity blasted revelations that I know in my heart need to be adressed. Which means more revision. Oh gawd, WHY, WHY, WHY do I torture myself?! Nothing for it – just have to buck up and get it done this week. (Although I’m not exactly sure just what ‘bucking up’ entails, so I hope I don’t accidently change the first letter of it somehow.)

    Oh, and there is a shower pen and pad available. And guess where I learned about it? You got it – good ole WU. Take a peek:

    Hurray for another great Monday Classroom! I. Am. Not. Alone. And knowing it makes this easier. :-)

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      LAUGHING! love flappity blasted – LOVE IT! *wishes I’d used it* haw!

      You are so kewl, Vaughn

  5. Carolyn V March 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I love your cover!!!

    And yes, I do get bored with my ms. I have to take a break from it and look at it again later (and sometimes I even love it later). ;)

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      Thank you – I love the cover too!

      I sometimes love mine later, too * laugh*

  6. karenselliottt March 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Bored with a story…not so much as lose my way or wonder where I’m going or wondering if I should use a whole ‘nother premise as the ending…or make it a horror instead of a memoir-like historical story. I love a good bloody cleaver or horrible creature to sneak in and smash a character on the head. Sometimes I realize my story is just the wrong GENRE, and that gets the juices flowing again (usually bloody juices), and I’m off to the races!

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      You are a good writer, so I hope you will keep at it, Karen . . .

  7. CG Blake March 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Great cover. Congrats. Terrific post, too. You should be one of those motivational coaches. I’m having so much trouble getting back into my WIP. I should probably read it from the beginning to get back in the flow. Usually I find that a brisk walk or a run helps to unblock the mind. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    • katmagendie March 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      Hi CG – I am enjoying you each night in bed – um – er – I mean YOUR BOOK! *laughing* —

      I’m laughing at the image of me as a motivational coach -teheheheheh

  8. Nina Badzin March 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Oh boy, I suffer from this problem a lot. I call it (and blogged about last year) the “so-what factor.” I’ll get to a certain point in a novel or story and get slammed with the “so what?” voice. It paralyzes me as I picture a reader coming to the same conclusion.

    • katmagendie March 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      Sometimes I do this and it could mean I’m just fatigued or depressed or worried. So I take a little break – go hiking, connect with nature – it usually works!

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